Spring time, tax time and scams

(Editor’s Note: Stittsville resident, Roxanne Bronsard is a cyber security expert who has worked in both the public and private sectors. Roxanne has many years of experience in the digital security field.)

With spring comes tax season and with tax season comes tax scams.

Cybercriminals target email accounts with scams related to preparing and filing taxes. These malicious emails, called phishing, often impersonate government tax agencies.

Also prevalent are phone calls with the same intent. These calls are termed vishing, (voice call phishing) and the intent is to get as much personal information from the call recipient as possible.

The third form of contact is smishing (sms phishing), whereby a text message is used to lure the recipient to either click on a malicious link or share information by text.

How can you determine if it is a scam or is it legitimate:
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has information about what to expect if CRA contacts you. Per their website, the CRA will never…

  • ask for information about your passport, health card, or driver’s license
  • demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards
  • use aggressive language or threaten to arrest or deport you
  • send you an email with a link to your refund
  • leave voicemails that are threatening or give personal or financial information
  • give or ask for personal or financial information by email and ask you to click on a link
  • email you a link asking you to fill in an online form with personal or financial details
  • set up a meeting in a public place to take a payment
  • the CRA never uses text messages or instant messaging such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to communicate with taxpayers

How you can protect yourself:
The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website details types of scams that are currently circulating along with short videos regarding phishing scams and keeping confidential information safe at – https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/campaigns/fraud-scams.html.

  • If you are uncomfortable with a caller or the information they are requesting, ask for a phone number to call them back. Research the number to ensure it is legitimate.
  • Beware of anyone requesting upfront fees.
  • Protect your computer with a reputable Security software that provides a Firewall, Virus Protection, Firewall, Mallware and Spyware removal. If your computer is acting strange, take it to a certified technician. Never trust callers that tell you your machine is infected!

You can defend yourself, your family and your friends’ security by reporting any suspected fraudulent activity to:


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